Earlier this week, we showed you a handful of aerial images of strange structures in China's desert, but another interesting facet to the story has since emerged.
According to Wired's Danger Room, former CIA analyst Allen Thomson said someone had several satellite images taken of the area well before the rest of the Internet world gained interest in it this week:
“Starting in 2004, somebody has ordered many, many satellite pictures of it,” Thomson tells Danger Room. “Can’t have been cheap.”
Thomson was able to discover this by enabling the DigitalGlobe coverage layer on the image, which notes the times when an images was requested of the area. Gizmodo explains further:
You can see the extreme density of these requests if you turn on the DigitalGlobe layer in Google Earth — the satellite has received commands to photograph this area many hundreds of times.
Gizmodo speculates that the requests most likely didn't come from the U.S. military -- because we have our own spy satellites -- but from a nonmilitary agency or another country.
Since the original Reddit post on the mysterious structures, more and more accounts and images have been coming forward (including the images below).
Gizmodo does note that China has been building structure in the desert for a long time, so the fact that the country is doing this isn't odd in itself. There is just speculation as to what these buildings could be: Gizmodo entertains the idea of use for Chinese spy satellites or perhaps code for aliens.